BookBrowse Note: January 9th 2006: An article in
the Smoking Gunclaimed that James Frey (author of A Million Little Pieces
and My Friend Leonard) fabricated key parts of his books. They cited police records, court documents and interviews with law enforcement agents which
belie a number of Frey's claims regarding criminal charges against him, jail terms and his fugitive status.
In an interview with the Smoking Gun, Frey admitted that he had 'embellished
central details' in A Million Little Pieces and backtracked on claims he made in the book.
January 26th 2006. Frey's publisher stated that while it initially stood by him, after further questioning of the author, the house has "sadly come to the realization that a number of facts have been altered and incidents embellished." It will be adding a a publisher's note and author's note to all future editions of A Million Little Pieces.
Intense, unpredictable, and instantly engaging, A Million Little Pieces is a story of drug and alcohol abuse and rehabilitation as it has never been told before. Recounted in visceral, kinetic prose, and crafted with a forthrightness that rejects piety, cynicism, and self-pity, it brings us face-to-face with a provocative new understanding of the nature of addiction and the meaning of recovery.
By the time he entered a drug and alcohol treatment facility, James Frey had taken his addictions to near-deadly extremes. He had so thoroughly ravaged his body that the facility's doctors were shocked he was still alive. The ensuing torments of detoxification and withdrawal, and the never-ending urge to use chemicals, are captured with a vitality and directness that recalls the seminal eye-opening power of William Burroughs's Junky.
But A Million Little Pieces refuses to fit any mold of drug literature. Inside the clinic, James is surrounded by patients as troubled as he is -- including a judge, a mobster, a one-time world-champion boxer, and a fragile former prostitute to whom he is not allowed to speak - but their friendship and advice strikes James as stronger and truer than the clinic's droning dogma of How to Recover. James refuses to consider himself a victim of anything but his own bad decisions, and insists on accepting sole accountability for the person he has been and the person he may become--which runs directly counter to his counselors' recipes for recovery.
James has to fight to find his own way to confront the consequences of the life he has lived so far, and to determine what future, if any, he holds. It is this fight, told with the charismatic energy and power of One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest, that is at the heart of A Million Little Pieces: the fight between one young man's will and the ever-tempting chemical trip to oblivion, the fight to survive on his own terms, for reasons close to his own heart.
A Million Little Pieces is an uncommonly genuine account of a life destroyed and a life reconstructed. It is also the introduction of a bold and talented literary voice.
The San Francisco Chronicle - James Sullivan
[I]t gives away nothing to say that he finds himself whole at the end of A Million Little Pieces. How that came to be would be a first-rate tale of suspense, if it weren't drawn so hideously from an actual life.
The prose is repetitive to the point of being exasperating, but the story, with its forays into the consciousness of an addict, is correspondingly difficult to put down.
Booklist - Kristine Huntley
Starred Review. Starkly honest and mincing no words, Frey bravely faces his struggles head on, and readers will be mesmerized by his account of his ceaseless battle against addiction.
Our acerbic narrator conveys urgency and youthful spirit with an angry, clinical tone and some initially off-putting prose tics--irregular paragraph breaks, unpunctuated dialogue, scattered capitalization, few commas--that ultimately create striking accruals of verisimilitude and plausible human portraits. Startling, at times pretentious in its self-regard, but ultimately breathtaking.
Library Journal - Rachel Collins
....this raw and intense book reveals a rare author whose approach to memoir writing is as original as his method to getting straight. Highly recommended.
Gus Van Sant A Million Little Piecesis as intense and perfectly detailed an account of a human quitting his drug and alcohol dependency as you are likely to read. And James Frey is horribly honest and funny in a young-guard Eggers and Wallace sort of way, but perhaps more contained and measured. He is unerring in his descent into a world where the characters need help in such extremely desperate ways. Read this immediately.
James Frey has written the War and Peace of addiction. It lends new meaning to the word 'harrowing' and one sometimes shudders to read it. But deep down, beneath all the layers and the masks, there lives something unconquerable in Frey's hurt spirit... And the writing, the writing, the writing.
Bret Easton Ellis A Million Little Pieces is this generation's most comprehensive book about addiction: a heartbreaking memoir defined by its youthful tone and poetic honesty. Beneath the brutality of James Frey's painful process of growing up, there are simple gestures of kindness that will reduce even the most jaded to tears. Very few books earn those tears -- this one does. It will have you sobbing, laughing, angry, frustrated, and most importantly, hopeful. A Million Little Pieces is inspirational and essential. A remarkable performance.
Recent Reader Reviews
Rated of 5
by Natalie Jeanne Champagne Does anyone remember a million little pieces? I do, Sort of. But what I remember most was Oprah.
James Frey received critical acclaim—a National Bestseller-- for his book, A Million Little Pieces, a perfect title for a book which would effectively make his life fall into such. I rarely... Read More
Rated of 5
by Bekah Amazingg! Like to tell you the truth this is the best I have ever read in my life. I bought this book myself and as soon as I started reading i couldn"t put it down. I tried but coudn"t. If anyone is looking for a book for any reason, pick this... Read More
Rated of 5
by Brittany AMAZING! Inspirational! I love this book and the book following it "my friend Lenard" they are both absolutely amazing and I really recommend it. It'll make you laugh and cry-- at least if your anything like me. I'd recommend it over any book I've read.
Rated of 5
by Steph Watkins Wow! So my mom bought this book but hadn't read it yet; so being bored one summer day I picked it up. It was so good I couldn't put it down. I tried but couldn't. Then for English I had to read a non-fiction book; I knew immediately this was going to... Read More
Rated of 5
by kelsey. amazing. Sure it was embellished a little but this is by far the most amazing book I have ever read. I'm young, but I understood everything in this and finished the entire book in three days and if it weren't for school it would've been less. I couldn't set... Read More
Rated of 5
by Ryan Schiely despite everything Regarding the accusations and even the admittance of Frey himself that this book is partly fabricated I can only state one thing. To me it didn't matter. This book is as heartbreaking and emotionally packed as anything that I have recently read.... Read More
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